I never know what to do with compliments.
They make me feel like I have cotton in my mouth.
I’ve been told when I was four
I must be adopted. I was too ugly to be my mother’s child.
I’ve been told when I was six
the scars I got from the playground
were offensive to my future husband.

I never know what to do with compliments.
They make me feel fake.
I’ve been taught since I was eight
my skin color defined my worth.
That the smoothness of my legs would determine
if I could join pageants and be Miss Universe.

I never know what to do with compliments.
When my friends say that’s a really great photo of you
or when a stranger says you’re pretty.
Maybe. Maybe this is why I’m hungry,
why I lick the feet of any guy
who pays for beer or treats me nicely.

I never know what to do with compliments.
When I was twelve I was taught to hate myself.
My mother gave me bedtime stories on
how to mess my mental health.

I never know what to do with compliments.
I am twenty-two. I’ve been told five minutes ago I don’t deserve them.
What a lovely dress! She’s grown up to be so beautiful!
You call that beautiful? She scoffs.
I’ve been taught to receive them in silence.

I never know what to do with compliments.
Until I stopped listening to what people said.
Until I learned I didn’t need anyone’s permission
to smile and love myself.

Thank you.

Sade Andria Zabala (surfandwrite) | Learning How To Say Thank You (via surfandwrite)

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